Pittsburgh and Tennessee kick off the regular season, and Pete from Garden City, N.Y., kicks off this week's mailbag. (To get involved with the 'bag, shoot a question here.) --- Q: Belichick turns a top-10 pick in 2001 (his first first-round selection for the Patriots) into eight years of Pro Bowl-level defensive end play, three Super Bowl titles and a top-10 pick in 2011. It's almost not fair to the rest of the league. Has there ever been anyone better at this? -- Pete (Garden City, N.Y.) A: Nobody in my mind, Pete. Belichick is the master at manipulating the draft, at thinking ahead, at running his team the exact way every fan would want his team to be run. Tell me any fan of any team hasn't said, "Why can't my team do that?" Richard Seymour goes to five Pro Bowls and helps the Pats win three Super Bowls, and then, just before he turns 30 years old, Belichick trades Seymour to the Raiders for a potential top-10 pick and a player who can prolong the Patriots' success. Brilliant; that's all I can say. Brilliant. Q: Now that the Raiders blew a first-round pick on Richard Seymour, is there any chance of Al Davis' trading for Julius Peppers to help Seymour from getting double- and triple-teamed? Al Davis knows [Panthers coach] John Fox, and Peppers wants out of Carolina, so the Raiders may as well go all out and give up another No. 1 pick for Peppers to play alongside Seymour. Here in Boston people think Belichick swindled Davis again worse than the Randy Moss trade. So unless the Raiders go all out to get Peppers and copy George Allen's "The future is now" philosophy, this could be the NFL version of the Boston Brinks job. -- Louie Markos (Salem, Mass.) A: As crazy as that sounds, Louie, that's an interesting idea -- but not in the way you think. What if the Raiders turned around and traded Seymour to the Panthers for Peppers? Now that would make sense. Seymour would report there, as he doesn't live far from there in the offseason. I don't know about Peppers, but frankly, I don't think the Panthers care what Peppers wants. Interesting idea -- but in a different way from what you intended. Q: Hey Adam, I interpreted your placing of the "Pats see 2011 lockout" comment as being relevant because if there's a lockout, (1) The Pats would be without Seymour for only one season (albeit two years) before seeing the fruits of the compensation for him; and (2) The Raiders will stink this year, and their 2010 draft position will carry over to 2011 if there's a lockout. Have I interpreted that correctly? -- Ryan (Miami) A: Not really, Ryan. The way I meant it was that, with financial uncertainty coming in 2011, the Patriots would prefer not to redo some monster contract now, pay out all that bonus money and not see football in 2011. New England was staring straight at the prospect of having Seymour and Vince Wilfork as free agents. It was going to be tough to keep both. So the Patriots traded one and held on to the other, and now, dealing with the financial uncertainty of 2011 is a little less expensive. Plus, in 2011, there may be a rookie wage scale, something NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wanted. If that's the case, the Patriots received a potential top pick without having to pay it some of these crazy salaries these other top picks have gotten. Q: Hey Adam, is Denver really going to hold Brandon Marshall until the trade deadline? -- AJ Niss (Centennial, Colo.) A: Unless some team makes the Broncos an offer that makes them significantly better, yes, AJ, they will hold him until the trade deadline before Week 6. That's how it will work. It's not difficult to envision that Denver eventually would trade Marshall. The question becomes, when? My guess: After this season. To the highest bidder. Q: Was wondering if you feel this year's Vikings squad has enough talent to contend for a Super Bowl appearance, or are we in Minnesota still left to wonder what could have been in 1998 if Gary Anderson wouldn't have missed that field goal? If so, who needs to carry the load -- Favre, AP? -- Alex Kessler (St. Michael, Minn.) For more, including the Vikes' chances, the NFL's blackout stance and the dreaded Crabtree question, you must be an ESPN Insider.
To continue reading this article you must be an Insider